While undertaking research for world best practice, we heard about Jasper Mountain in Oregon, USA.
We have visited and benefited hugely from a week of training and first hand encounter with Dr. Dave and Joyce Ziegler and their amazing team.
This is the first book Dave Ziegler Ph.D. published (2000) and it covers "Parenting Skills and Therapy Interventions for the Most Difficult Children". This book is loaded with lots of insight and practical things a parent or care giver can do to make positive changes happen in those they are trying to nurture and raise.
Fostering Kids provides a truly excellent training program for carers and they use material from this book. In particular Figure 1. Building Blocks of Treating Emotional Disturbance. This diagram shows the steps that must be in place or built into the relationship between the child and carer before moving on to the next step. In order these are:
- Personal Worth
I will not cover any more here, and thoroughly recommend you get a copy.
This is the second book Dave Ziegler Ph.D. published (2005) and it covers "How to win the battle of wills". This book is put together in a way that highlights many of the intensely practical and hard learned lessons that Dave and the team at Jasper Mountain have learned and share.
To whet your appetite let me share an insight from a section called "A Chance to Express What is Inside". As an adult you must help the child express what is going on inside.
Step #1 is to allow the child to express what she feels and thinks.
Step #2 is to let the child know that you are listening, and that what is going on with him matters to you.
It is not until Step #3 that you help the child express important issues in an acceptable way.
Many parents reverse the order of these three steps, and the result does not work for either the child or the adult. ... It is important that you really hear the child, which means that you listen deeper than what his or her words are saying. from pages 106 and 107.
Further on, Dave informs us: The principle job of a child is to learn and to enjoy the process. In other words, a child's job is to play. However, the ability to enjoy life and be playful is one of the first things to disappear when a child is traumatized. ... Hence ... For many traumatized children, recess is the most difficult time of the day.
By the way, the title implies some children are impossible to raise. In this book and during our time at Jasper Mountain, Dave mentioned that out of the many hundreds of children he has worked with, he has yet to meet the impossible child. In typical character he is quick to acknowledge that as each new child enters the program, the question still remains - is this the one we cannot help? Jasper Mountain repeatedly tells us that learning is never done, each child is unique and they collectively are the best teachers.